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  • Writer's pictureIrra Core

Reducing California's Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

In September 2016, SB 1383 was filed with the Secretary of State in California and approved by the Governor of California. This bill mandates the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to approve and implement strategies that would reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) no later than January 1, 2018. SB 1383 requires a 40% reduction in methane, a 40% reduction on hydrofluorocarbon gases and a 50% reduction in anthropogenic black carbon by 2030 relative to 2013 baseline levels. SB 1383 also mandates CARB to establish targets for reducing organic waste in landfills and mandates the adoption of regulations to reduce methane emissions from livestock and dairy manure operations.

So let's take a look at the proposed reduction strategies and more importantly, which industries are targeted in this bill.

What are the sources of anthropogenic black carbon? Mainly off-road and on-road transportation, residential wood burning, fuel combustion and industrial processes. In terms of mobile sources, CARB has implemented a lot of reduction programs such as the diesel particulate matter reduction and the incentive programs for zero-emission vehicles. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is expected to further incentive the use of fuels that emit lower levels of black carbon. The Federal Clean Power Plan is also expected to work towards reducing black carbon emissions.

What are the sources of methane? Think landfills, dairy, livestock, oil and gas sector, pipelines and other industrial processes. If you are in any one of these industries, do pay attention to the following bills:

  • AB 11: Reduce the amount of solid waste sent to landfills by 75% by 2020 through recycling, composting and source reduction practices.

  • AB 1826: Businesses generating specified amounts of organic wastes must arrange for the recycling and diversion of wastes from landfill disposal in 2016.

  • AB 1594: Re-classifies the use of green waste for landfill alternative daily cover as disposal beginning in 2020.

  • AB 876: Requires local governments starting August 2017 to assess the amount of organic waste that will be generated in a region during a 15-year period and identify locations for new or expanded organic waste recycling facilities.

  • SB 1122: Requires investor owned utilities to develop and offer 10 to 20 year market prices contract to procure an additional 250 MW of cumulative electricity generation from biogas facilities that commence operating on or after June 2013.

  • LCFS requires transportation fuel provider to procure clean fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of California's fuel mix.

  • AB 1900: Requires Public Utility Commissions to adopt natural gas constituent standards; streamline and standardize customer pipeline access rules and encourage programs for biomethane production and distribution.

  • AB 1257: Resulted in a report identifying strategizes for maximizing benefits obtained from natural gas as an energy source.

  • SB 1371: Requires Public Utility Commissions to minimize natural as leaks from CPUC regulated intrastate transmission and distribution gas pipelines and facilities.

  • Cap-and-Trade: Compliance Offset Protocols provide methods to quantify, report and credit GHG emission reductions form sectors not covered under the program such as livestock protocol, rice cultivation protocol and mine methane capture protocol.

What are the sources of hydrofluorocarbons? Mainly the fugitive emissions of refrigerants used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. CARB is considering developing bans on the use of high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants where lower-GWP refrigerants are feasible and readily available. Incentive programs may also be offered to counter the replacement of HCFC-22 which will be phased out by 2020, per the Montreal protocol, with the use of a refrigerant with even higher GWP potential. To this end, measures have been introduced that would prohibit the sales and distribution of refrigerants with 100-year GWP values of 2500 or greater beginning January 1, 2020.

So who is going to foot the bill for all these programs? Governor Brown's 2016 - 2017 proposed budget includes $215 million from Cap-and-Trade expenditures to be spent on SLCP programs; $40 million for black carbon residential wood smoke reductions, $20 million for refrigerant reductions, $100 million for waste diversion, $20 million for Healthy Soils, and $35 million for dairy digestor development. You should also expect a significant investment from the public and private sector in order to meet the SLCP emissions reduction goals. CARB is still finalizing program details so make sure you keep abreast of their latest updates at:

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